Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 1996 Topps Classic Confrontations

Since 2006, in addition to the Topps Flagship base sets, I have been collecting most of the insert sets as well.  I little while back I decided to fill some gaps in my collection and pick up the Topps insert sets from 1993 to 2005.  While I do have all the base sets in that range, this was a period where I didn't do a ton of collecting.  Most of the sets have been picked up in factory form or bought complete without opening many or any packs.  I have decided to share the different insert sets as I complete them to document my progress and share the sets in case they came at a lull in your collecting as well.

This set is a 15 card set from 1996 and is called Classic Confrontations.  The fronts feature a nearly full body picture of the player, a muted close up of a portion of the same picture in the background and a team logo near the bottom, strategically placed to try and avoid the player picture.   The insert set title is printed in all caps along the left side of the card and the player name is listed in gold foil at the players feet.

The set features 10 hitters and 5 pitchers.  It is hard to argue the player selection for this set although one might argue Reggie Sanders is a little out of place.  He was a solid player but the rest of the groups put up Hall of Fame caliber numbers over their career.

The backs and interesting, you get a small player head shot and a stat line of the player against some of the best in the game - hence the Classic Confrontation naming.  The batters show their stat lines against "The Aces" and the pitchers card back shows their stat lines against "The Most Feared".

Not the most exciting insert set or design but an overall solid add to my set collection.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Finally a Little Progress on My 1972 Topps Set

I have struggled with making much progress on the high number series of 1972 Topps.  I have whined quite a bit about it in a few different posts and gotten a little advice.  I think the best advice seems to be going to the National and looking for someone selling these - word on the street is that some have been found for as little as a dollar a piece. 

I was hoping to get to the National this year as it is in Chicago which is only about 8 hours from my new home in Kansas.  Unfortunately, a family trip to CA to visit family coincides with the National this year.  With the National next year being a 12 hour trip to Cleveland, I am probably going to have to wait until 2019 to attend back in Chicago.

Mentally I have had to resign myself to the fact that I will probably not come close to finishing the 1972 set until a trip like that takes place.  In the meantime I plan on finishing up everything but Series 6 and trying to get lucky and find some reasonably priced high numbers on the off chance they turn up.  I still need some pretty big cards like Roberto Clemente, Nolan Ryan and Pete Rose so I have a few challenges ahead.

I was lucky enough to run across an eBay auction for 12 high number cards and since I only have a small number, they were all needs.  I made a couple bids and were able to bring them home for under $2 each.  Here are the cards I scored:



With 130 cards in the number series this barely put a dent in my want list but it was nice to finally make a little progress on the final series.  If you happen to run across a cheap source for 1972 high numbers, please let me know!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Trade Post - Wes Moore

Time to share some goods from one of the best bloggers around.  I have gotten too many packages from Wes of WILLINGHAMMER RISING to count and have quite a few scans saved up.  Since it looks like Wes has his blog up to date on trade posts, time for me to get at least up to date with all the good stuff he has sent my way.


First up are a nice group of Willie Macs.  I had a heck of a time tracking down 2 of those Triple Play cards, one for my set and one for the McCovey binder.  This one slipped right into the Giants binder.


A nice eclectic group of Giants, the Beam Team cards and Gypsy Queen inserts being my favs.


I am not sure why the serial numbered Vernon Davis mini was grouped with the 2 minor league cards.  I am loving the Royce Clayton minor league card.  Vernon is a puzzle to me, he went from being great to being terrible almost overnight - almost like my 49ers.


Speaking of 49ers, Wes is usually good for some 49er goodness in his packages.  Outside of my vintage 49er quests I don't have any collecting goals for 49ers but I always set aside current 49ers like these knowing that some day I will put some focus on that collection.


Wes has had some creative ways to personalize his packages.  My favorite was the Hamburglar trading card but this marked up Gary Redus card was cool as well.


I was excited to get this Andre Carter relic.  I was super excited when the Niners drafted Carter after watching him tear up the Pac 10 at Cal including some good efforts against my USC Trojans.


The Steve Young card is pretty sweet but the Patrick Willis cards are the star of this show.  I am still saddened by Willis' abrupt retirement.  He played an April Fools joke last 4/1 about coming back and I bought into it, hook, line and sinker.  Probably wishful thinking.


Here is a random group of Giants including a sweet Kung Fu Panda World Series manurelic.


Speaking of manurelics, this pair of 49er ones were a great surprise.  I hadn't seen any of these before and really like them.  The camo theme is awesome.


Wes is someone who really watches what you collect and finds things that fit well into your collection.  This Peja relic is a great example.


Another cool eclectic group of Giants, the Chrome Duffy is sweet.  I would bet Kirk Manwaring could win an award for best action photos and the bottom right card is a nice example.

Finally a group of 4 cards I claimed in one of Wes' contests he has run.  I think this was a Christmas promotion but as I age the memory starts to fade.


This is a really nice looking insert with tons of shine and the best player in baseball history - I was super happy to grab it.


A Dodger you ask, but why?  Well it is a nice vintage card from a set I have contemplated chasing one day.  I figured what the heck and jumped at it.


I was happy to see this Artist's Proof of USC Trojan alum Marcus Allen.  This is now one of 530 different cards I have of the Heisman Trophy winner and Hall of Famer.

Finally a Museum parallel of Mr. October.  I have a nice Reggie collection of almost 600 cards and needed this one.  I really enjoy seeing Jackson in the old Oakland uniforms.

Thanks Wes for your generosity, I have referred to you in the past as the most generous blogger and this is further evidence.  You are the best!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

COMC - Using Up My Free Shipping

During the Black Friday sale I received a bunch of scratch offs and won several coupons for free shipping. My normal approach on COMC is to put some money into my account every month or two, look for cards I want/need the buy them and stash them in my inventory until they make a free shipping sale.

In this case, knowing my coupons were about to expire, I went on a little shopping spree right before the end of March, picked up some cards and immediately requested the order get shipped.  Thought I would share the haul.

First up are some Chrome Giants from 2016.

The top 3 cards were listed as vending box versions - I am not up on my Bowman terminology and can't keep how they are released straight but couldn't resist picking up the trio of Giants.  The middle row are a base Bowman Chrome, a Bowman Chrome purple refractor and a Bowman Chrome Draft card.  The Topps Chrome Posey ROY Chronicles is a sweet looking insert, my favorite card of the bunch.

Next up are some additional 2016 Giants cards that fill in some gaps:


Whenever I pick up Tek cards I get excited, think about going after a rainbow then quickly forget about them.  Not sure what that says about my relationship with the set.  The Posey and the Mays in the middle row are reprints from a Topps Archives 65th Anniversary set.  I never bought any of that set and these are my only 2 cards from it.  The Nunez completed the Rainbow team set for the Giants for all of 2016. 

Now onto some vintage set needs:

I was able to pick up this excellent group of 7 cards including 4 Hall of Famers.  I have been checking COMC fairly frequently for vintage set needs and often come across pretty solid deals.  I don't recall how much these cost but I do know in each case I found these for less than comparables on eBay.  I am inching closer to the set but have some big names to knock off.

Finally a quad of 1971 Topps cards.  If you read my recent post, you would know I completed my 1971 Topps set.  This purchase helped get me four steps closer.  I am a big fan of the bottom 2 cards, the Browne swing follow through is a great photo and a young George Sparky Anderson early in his Reds managerial tenure.

A nice package of cards to finish off my free COMC shipping spree.

Monday, June 5, 2017

McCovey Monday #92 - A Pair of Postage Stamp Cards

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1300 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards every Monday.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

I have generally limited my McCovey Monday posts to a single card but with my infrequent posting I am accumulating new McCovey cards must faster than I can get them posted.  It also has limited my desire to pull older cards out of my binders to share.  Today I am breaking my typical mold and sharing pair of cards with a common theme.

I used to be a pretty active stamp collector.  My focus was on US Postage stamps.  I started as a kid and share the hobby with my grandmother - it was a lot of fun to compare our collections and talk about the history showcased in the stamps.  The shift to the self adhesive stamps by the post office, while easier on the consumer, took a lot of the fun out of it for me.  The stamps became harder to separate from a sheet and more challenging to mount in a stamp book.

When Topps began using postage stamps on cards a few years back it blended my two hobbies and while I saw a lot of negative reactions to these manufactured relics, I have always enjoyed the cards.

Last year, Topps put out a set featuring 15 members of the 500 Home Run Club in the Update set. I was happy to see Willie McCovey featured in the set.


The cards feature a postage stamp from the year the player entered the 500 HR club, in Willie's case it was 1978 - I remember the moment well.  I like the design of these cards, they look classic with a great subject.  With the print run on these being 375 cards, I have thought about chasing the entire set but never took the plunge.

My second card to share is this McCovey out of 2017 Topps Heritage:


This is the 3rd year in a row where Willie Mac has been featured on a Heritage stamp card.  Each year they are limited to just 50 copies.  This is the first year I have added one to my collection.  All those Heritage master set collectors have really driven the price of cards like this higher than I like to spend but I jumped on this one right after the set was released and got it for a fairly reasonable price.

This card features a stamp from 1968 which coincides with the set featured in the Heritage release.  It is a well designed and a great addition to my McCovey collection.

It is pretty cool when my two hobbies collide and my favorite player gets featured in the stamp/card set.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

My Birth Year Set is Complete - 1971 Topps!

I can't express how exciting finishing a vintage set is to me.  I have always had a goal to finish all the Topps sets back to my birth year and with the completion of this 1971 Topps set from the year of my birth I am down to one set left. 

This set build has been a slow and steady build.  It started with a few star cards then some lots of commons.  I acquired a decent number of cards through trades and over the last few months I have been picking off the last high numbers I needed to finish off the set.

Here are the final 3 cards I picked up off of eBay:


The Dusty Baker/Don Baylor rookie card was the most expensive of this batch.  I struggled finding a card at a price I was willing to pay and this one finally popped up for just under $20. I pulled the Buy It Now trigger. The card is a little off center but not as bad as my scan makes it look.  Otherwise it is in pretty solid shape.  The other two cards came from different buyers.

The last cards I needed to finish off the set came in a COMC order I received last week.  Here are 7 of the 8:
As I seem to run across for vintage sets, the Yankees proved a little harder and a little more costly to track down.  I was lucky to find a newly listed Boog for a very low price compared to the others on the site and eBay.  I actually picked up 2 copies of the Jose Pena for some reason.

Here is the final card I purchased and the card I consider the last one for my set:
There is a little story here.  I had bought a copy of this card on eBay and a couple days before I requested shipping for my COMC order I realized the card hadn't come in the mail yet.  I checked the tracking number and it showed it had never been dropped off.  I contacted the seller and he had a story that he had issues with his mailing drop off station and he would check.  The next day he refunded me the cost.  I had won an auction for a pretty low figure so I think it was all BS.  However I got lucky and found this COMC card for a few cents less.

Denny McClain is card number 750 out of 752 in the set and as a very well known player, and the last pitcher with 30 wins in a season, seemed to carry a premium.  I think it is a fitting final card.  It does break a pattern (that will probably replay itself in my 1969 set) of the final card being one of the more expensive.

This set is all paged and bindered up and I was able to confirm that my want list was accurate.  My 1971 Topps birth year set is complete!

I plan to continue to try for those high numbers in the 1972 Topps set to finish the Topps run of my life.  I also have 1959, 1960 and 1970 complete sets so I suspect my goal will extend back for all the 1960s sets.  I am actually closer to 1969 that 1972 so my vintage set building attention will focus on 1972 and 1969.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 2000 Topps Hands of Gold

Since 2006, in addition to the Topps Flagship base sets, I have been collecting most of the insert sets as well.  I little while back I decided to fill some gaps in my collection and pick up the Topps insert sets from 1993 to 2005.  While I do have all the base sets in that range, this was a period where I didn't do a ton of collecting.  Most of the sets have been picked up in factory form or bought complete without opening many or any packs.  I have decided to share the different insert sets as I complete them to document my progress and share the sets in case they came at a lull in your collecting as well.

I am a sucker for die cuts and even though this set is small at only 7 cards, I am a big fan.
I really like the design of this 2000 Topps Hands of Gold insert set.  In addition to the die cut top, each card features the player in a fielding action photo.  I have seen too many sets that celebrate hitting with a fielding pose or fielding with a hitting pose - Topps got this one right.  One minor complaint I have is the use of the same glove on each card.  It would have been nice to switch it up with a catchers mitt for Pudge and lefty mitts for Bonds, Griffey and Gwynn.  Otherwise a strong showing from my perspective.  All of these players have strong defensive pedigrees with lots of Gold Gloves on their mantle.  The gold coloring and sunshine rays in the background are a great compliment to the rest of the card.


The cards backs are nice as well with another photo and the fielding stats and a listing of the years with Gold Glove victories.  The write up rounds up a very nice card, both front and back.